A Day In The Life

The Last Day of SchoolA day of "Have a great summe…
May 27, 2006, 4:34 am
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The Last Day of School

A day of “Have a great summer!” and “See you next year!” and “Thank you for all the work you’ve done.” And a day of my favorite thing…….hugs. What wonderful a gift the hugs are!!! I can’t begin to tell you how many hugs I gave and received today. They began at high school and lasted throughout the day even as I ran into students while buying groceries after that last bell had rung. In addition to all the hugs, I received a candle and a plant as thank you gifts from students. The little boy who gave me the plant had a card attached to the container. On the outside of the envelope, he had written “Top Secret”. I guess I am supposed to keep quiet about the gift.


Performanced OutAs of Monday, May 22, at approxima…
May 19, 2006, 12:30 am
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Performanced Out
As of Monday, May 22, at approximately 1:30PM, the final performance of this school years’ spring performance season will be over. This means that in slightly less than one month, my students and I will have presented 10 choral programs. I have a total of seven performing groups: the Bearcat Chorus ( 51 members grades 9-12), the Bearkitten Singers ( 55 students grades 6-8), the Spotlight Singers ( 12 members grades 9-12), Sweet Harmony ( 9 members grades 9-12), Third Grade Harmony Stars ( 30 members ), Fourth Grade Harmony Stars (30 members) and Fifth Grade Harmony Stars ( 30 members). If I did the math correctly, that adds up to 196 performers. In addition to various programs presented by the choirs, I also planned, rehearsed and presented a fourth grade musical which involved approximately 150 students. Needless to say, with eight performances completed and two more still to go, I am tired.

Tired or not , I am already busy looking at music and planning for the next school years’ fall and spring performance seasons. This is one thing I love about teaching choral music. I have a constantly changing, dynamic curriculum. There is hardly a time of year when I am not thinking in musical terms. And for anyone who wants to discuss those three summer months I spend on vacation, I say, “Come along and do what I do, then we can discuss my ‘lengthy vacation’.” I think of my summer as a time of rejuvenation and preparation for the next onslaught of competitions and performances. At least ten days of my summer are spent in workshops and choral reading clinics. The workshops are usually dull, but the reading clinics are fun and inspiring. I also use the summer months to map out at least a semesters’ worth of lesson plans for all seven choirs and for the the three elementary grade levels of general music that I teach. In addition, I use the summer to learn all the music that each choir will be performing in concert and in competition. I must be able to play the piano accompaniment reasonably well and it is imperative for me to know each voice part that my students will be singing. Last, but not least, is choreography. Most elementary level music involves some dance moves that I work through at least once or twice over the summer.

So, you get the idea that my summer months are not spent entirely in “sweet freedom” from the demands of the school year. However, there are many days in June and July that I can wake up to the sound of birds singing rather than an alarm clock buzzing…….wonderful. There are working days that I can move at my own leisurely pace with no bells every 40 minutes or so…….wonderful. There are days that I can choose to do absolutely nothing…….wonderful. There are days I can spend at the pool…..wonderful. There are days without a single question from a child……..wonderful. And there are days that I don’t have to fill out a single piece of paperwork………really wonderful.

I truly love being a public school music teacher. It is a mission, a vocation rather than a job. There are the ups and downs that any adult professional faces, but I am so blessed to be doing something so creative, so life-changing, so spiritual and so ultimately satisfying. My students and I will always have the music that we created together. It is a bond that can never be broken. My students will share our music with their children and so on and so on. And a little part of me will live forever just as my music teachers continue to live through the music I have taught.

You have to accept whatever comes, and the only im…
May 17, 2006, 3:13 am
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You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Endings I’ve been thinking a lot about endings th…
May 16, 2006, 1:47 am
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I’ve been thinking a lot about endings the last several weeks. My dad’s life on earth ended five years ago on April 29. A recent tragic accident claimed the life of someone I met only briefly. And last Saturday a woman I have known for fifteen years died after a long illness. Endings are inevitable. They can be sad and full of loss, but they can also be joyful and filled with promise.
I had fifteen seniors in my high school choir this year and, as of May 12, their high school careers ended. Twelve of the fifteen posed for the picture included in this post. These young people are a very special group and I have so enjoyed the time I was blessed to spend with them. I will definitely feel a loss without seeing them every day and without hearing their beautiful voices raised in song. But this ending is joyful along with an inescapable sadness and sense of loss. What promise these young lives have!!
All these endings that have touched my life in some way have underscored something I have always believed: life should be lived to its fullest. That isn’t to say that we should spend every waking hour in ceaseless activity. Rest is a part of life, too. What we should do is savor every moment regardless of what we are doing. Our life is such a precious gift and we should treat it as such. We should actively seek joy and look for the promise of the future even in the face of endings. After all, every ending is a new beginning.

BIG Hair Mistake My mom has been sorting through…
May 6, 2006, 5:15 am
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BIG Hair Mistake

My mom has been sorting through old photographs and newspaper clippings which inspired me to take my own walk down memory lane. I came across this picture of myself taken in August of 1977. What can I say? I was nineteen and afros were very popular. I eventually decided that I looked amazingly like Bozo, so my college roommate and I hacked all the perm frizz off with razor blades. Then I had very short hair, but it was brown again and I no longer resembled a clown.